In today’s world, it’s becoming increasingly rare to see a traveler without a smartphone. The truth is, smartphones have made a significant impact on the way we travel. Nowadays, travelers can use the device for photography, translation, directions, entertainment, social media access as well as for regular phone use, i.e. for keeping in contact with family and friends.
As long as travelers don’t use it as a safety blanket that disconnects them from their experiences, smartphones can be fantastic travel tools that enhance travel experiences and just make planning things a whole lot easier.
When it comes to determining which is the best smartphone for your travels, there are specific criteria you should look for. If you’re using an upcoming trip as an excuse to buy a new phone, here are the five most useful smartphone features for frequent travelers.
First and foremost, you must ensure that the smartphone you are planning on using is unlocked for international roaming before you arrive overseas. After that, you need to look into how you are going to connect to the Internet while on the road. Some travelers choose to search for free Wi-Fi wherever they go, while others buy a local SIM card at every destination they visit.
However, frequent travelers know the advantage of a smartphone with dual SIM capabilities. This means that a phone has one slot available for your home SIM, and another slot for your travel SIM. By having the dual-functions, you don’t have to worry about losing your home SIM, and you don’t need to perform complex SIM changes. It is convenient, flexible, and means you have a backup should one network fail.
Fantastic Camera Features
You probably know by now that there are many advantages to traveling with a phone that can take excellent photos. The most significant benefit is that you don’t also need to pack a camera!
Your smartphone should be easy to carry, have quick access to the camera function, and provide the ability to share photos instantly. You also want to move around with a smartphone that is equipped to backup your photos and video in the cloud.
The downside to smartphones having cameras with more megapixels and high-resolution video is that it is easier to use up all of the phone’s storage quickly. For frequent travelers who find themselves occasionally getting snap-happy, 16GB of space is no longer enough, and even 32GB can rapidly get filled when all the apps, entertainment, photos and videos are downloaded.
One option is to upgrade to a phone with more storage or to have your photos and videos automatically backup to cloud software (allowing you to delete them from your phone). Alternatively, you could purchase a smartphone that has a micro-SD slot to which you can add cheap removable storage cards when necessary.
Long Battery Life
Even for everyday usage, smartphone batteries never seem to last long enough, a problem that only magnifies when traveling. As you are using your smartphone for navigation, photos, video, entertainment, and more, your battery power can get depleted before you’ve had the opportunity to sit down for lunch.
Frequent travelers should look for a phone with a long battery life. Often, larger phones have a longer-lasting battery. Additionally, always pack a completely charged portable charger to give yourself three to four more full charges.
App Store Access
In general, technology has changed the way people travel. No longer do people flock to travel agencies to have flights booked; instead, they can utilize online travel agencies and apps. There is a growing market for mobile apps that are changing the travel game, allowing travelers to find the best value deals, book cheap flights, locate unique accommodations, and enjoy mind-blowing travel experiences — all hassle-free.
While lots of apps can provide an immense amount of benefit to your travels to start with, Google Maps, a currency converter, and Uber are essentials. Skyscanner is a popular app that searches the Internet for the cheapest flights and has incredible flexible search options (you can put in a city and look up flights to everywhere!).
The Airbnb and Couchsurfing apps are useful for travelers who are not looking to stay in hotels. These online marketplaces allow people to rent (or stay for free if Couchsurfing) unique short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartments, and hostel beds around the world.
While traveling without your smartphone might seem unimaginable, there is a good chance that you don’t always take proper care of it. And no matter how many useful features yours has, if you drop it and the screen gets all smashed up, or it gets water damage, that is all it needs to be rendered useless.
There are lots of stories of certain smartphone models suffering devastating drops, so as a frequent traveler you might want to consider purchasing a rugged and durable smartphone for your travels.